IRWIN Racing’s endurance signing Craig Baird says that the team’s new regular driver, Lee Holdsworth, is cast from the same mould as Marcos Ambrose.
Holdsworth will race for the famed Stone Brothers Racing squad for the first time this weekend, following six seaons in Garry Rogers Motorsport Holdens.
SBR has today confirmed Baird’s appointment for Sandown and Bathurst, with the Kiwi having been linked to the squad last month in Speedcafe.com’s comprehensive overview of the co-driver market. CLICK HERE for that story
Baird last competed for Stone Brothers Racing in 2000, where he was the full-time driver of the #4 Falcon.
Baird was then replaced by Ambrose, who went on to win two V8 Supercars Championships with the squad before forging a career in NASCAR.
“It was an easy decision,” said Baird of joining Holdsworth in the IRWIN Ford.
“I’ve watched Lee closely over the last few years and he kind of reminds me of Marcos Ambrose.
“He is very methodical with his racing – he gets the job done with a limited amount of fuss.
“I think he will surprise a few people this year, he’s young, he’s fit and he’s fast, I think his biggest thing is his work ethic, not just behind the wheel, but when he’s outside the car.
“Just watching him at the test day last week, he slowly goes through his programme and ticks all the boxes along the way. That’s the mark of a champion.”
Holdsworth added that Baird, who is a three-time and reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Champion, was his first choice.
“Ross (Stone) asked me who I’d like to be with and Craig (Baird) was my number one choice,” said Holdsworth.
“He’s a very confident driver and reliable. He’s done plenty of laps and is familiar with the team, which goes a long way – I’m really thrilled to have him join us. I like that he is safe, he keeps out of trouble, he’s quick but doesn’t do anything silly.
“He’s at the top of the list as an endurance driver and someone that can bring the car back to you in a decent position with no damage.
“At the recent test day (at Queensland Raceway) he was excellent, he gave similar feedback to what I was saying, we were both wanting the same things out of the car. His lap times were also on the mark straight away, which is what you want from your co-driver.”
Baird’s signing completes Stone Brothers Racing’s endurance line-up, with Luke Youlden set to compete alongside Shane van Gisbergen in the #9 SP Tools entry, and Andrew Thompson joining Tim Slade in the #47 Lucky 7 Racing machine.
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Clipsal 500 Adelaide Race Guide